When it comes to video game movies there's an understandable fear they'll disappoint. The track record proves it. Usually, the director or studio has no understanding of the source material and, as such, creates a box office dud destined to be abhorred by critics and create an eagerness for fans to forget and move on. You would think those involved may have never touched any related games and hoped to cash in solely on the namesake. In most cases you'd be right, but not this time.
The first trailer for Roar Uthaug's interpretation of Tomb Raider gives the impression that not only has he played the games and understands them, but is also making an effort to get it right.
The Origin Of The Survivor
Coming as no surprise to anyone who's played the 2013 game the film is based on, Tomb Raider is yet another origin film to add to Hollywood's ever-growing list. This will be the tale of how #LaraCroft becomes the Tomb Raider or more importantly, how she becomes a survivor.
Unlike other origin stories where the focus is on the lead characters learning how to use their new skills, this trailer demonstrates Lara already has them. This is no different than the game's story which makes us aware that Lara is already skilled. She's been training her whole life; it's just not until she ends up shipwrecked that the real test begins. While she gains new skills along the way, which is necessary for the game's progression, it may not be so in the movie. Instead, the focus continues to be on her adapting these skills in this uncharted territory to do all she needs to survive. Her wits, creativity, and instincts were what the games highlighted and prevented her from becoming just another casualty.
If the movie gets this right like the games did, audiences will be treated to a different take on the character as a result, a much more humanized Lara. The previous movies gave us the trigger-happy #AngelinaJolie version of the character. But the character this version of Lara Croft is based on has no desire to hunt or kill. She understands the weight of life, feeling guilt when pulling the trigger on another human being.
Lara's Costume And Gear Are Exactly Like The Games
Visual representation when adapting a game is key. If done wrong the movie is an instant failure to the many fans who spent countless hours playing as these characters and exploring their worlds. That's why I cannot stress enough that Uthaug and his team have done an amazing job with Lara's look. Lara's outfit is identical in every way to the game.
Even better is the focus on her new signature weapon, the bow and arrow. While the dual pistols, braid, and tight leather make an appearance at the trailer's end (hopefully nothing more than a fun Easter egg), it's the bow and arrow that appears to be her weapon of choice. It sticks with the survivor theme, as in the games she builds the bow and arrow from scratch and presumably will do the same here. In addition to this, we also see her with the ice pick, another handy tool of the newer games. From her outfit, to the gear, to every scar and bandage, #AliciaVikander is the modern Lara Croft come to life, at least in appearance thus far.
Lara's Many Enemies From The Games Make An Appearance
The Crofts are never without their enemies and this trailer reveals several. First and foremost is Father Mathias, portrayed by #WaltonGoggins. In the game Mathias is a deranged cult leader who starts off appearing to help the shipwrecked crew, only to capture them. He seeks to to sacrifice Lara and her shipmates to appease the spirit that haunts the island. That spirit is Himiko, who is also known as "the Mother of Death," and she served as the game's primary antagonist in the form of a supernatural being that caused the storm that made Lara's ship sink. For the purpose of the film, Lara must close Himiko's tomb to save the world from her threat.
Even with Father Mathias and Himiko, the most intriguing threat is Trinity. While never in the original game, the elusive organization makes appearances in the comics and is the major antagonistic force in the 2013 game's sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider.
If you hadn't read the #comics set in between the #videogames, Trinity seemingly came out of nowhere in Rise. Lara was clearly familiar with them and their threat by Rise's intro. In the trailer for the movie, however, Lara seems to be learning about them for the first time. It's a smart move on production's part to introduce Trinity, and even Lara's father now, as it allows them to become key plot points that can be woven between the movies. After all, Trinity is still a big threat post-Rise and likely to continue being a thorn in Lara's side in any game sequel.
To make clear how large a threat Trinity is to Lara, in Rise it's learned that members of the organization are responsible for her father's death. He was murdered inside Croft manor and the assassin staged his death as suicide, ruining the Croft name. This is set up nicely in the trailer, where we see Lara watching a recording of her father saying, "If you're listening to this, I must be dead," before making his plea to Lara that Trinity must not get their hands on the tomb. It's a safe bet that the movie and any potential sequels are following this plot thread. While not resolved in the games nor comics just yet, it'll be fun to see how #WarnerBros tackles this.
Video game movies have unfortunately become an adaptation for fans to dread but for once, we may have something to truly look forward to as it's clear from the costumes and gear, to the enemies she fights, and, most importantly, the portrayal of Lara Croft herself, that Warner Bros and #RoarUthaug have put in the effort. Hopefully come March 16th of next year, fans will have a video game movie that does them proud.